What Is Developmental Psychology? | BestColleges (2022)

As we grow from children to adults, so do our brains, with the fastest brain growth happening between ages 0-5. With that in mind, it shouldn't be too surprising that one of the branches of psychology, developmental psychology, is dedicated to how humans and our minds grow, develop, and change over time.

While developmental psychology was originally concerned with children and adolescents, the field has expanded to include adult psychology and the psychology of aging. Developmental psychologists work in clinical settings like hospitals as individual and family therapists. They also work in schools and colleges.

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Developmental Psychology Basics: Job Demand and Salary

Developmental psychology is a high-demand field with opportunities for high salaries. Developmental psychologists work in health and educational settings, and some are self-employed.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for a psychologist, including those specializing in developmental psychology, is $81,040 per year, nearly double the median salaries of all other professions.

(Video) What Is Developmental Psychology

In addition, the projected job growth rate from 2021-2030 is 6%, which is about average for all jobs in the United States. Other developmental psychology jobs, such as family therapy, have higher demand. Family therapist jobs are projected to grow by 14% between 2020 and 2030. But, these professionals only earn a median annual salary of $49,880, slightly higher than the median earnings for all jobs.

Developmental Psychology Careers to Look Forward To

5 Popular Developmental Psychology Jobs

Counselor/Therapist

Median Salary: $81,040
Projected Job Growth (2021-2031): 8%

When you think of "seeing a psychologist," you are likely thinking of a therapist or counselor. Therapists and counselors work one-on-one with individuals to help them deal with mental health concerns, major life events, and more. Counselors and therapists typically need a master's degree or higher and must be licensed to practice in their state.


School Psychologist

Average Median Salary: $60,510
Projected Job Growth (2021-2031): 10%

A school psychologist is on-site at a high school or other educational institution to serve as a resource for students' mental health needs. A background in developmental psychology is especially useful for working with teenagers and school-age children. School psychologists typically need a master's degree and licensure in their state.


Family Therapist

Median Salary: $49,880
Projected Job Growth (2021-2031): 14%

While a traditional therapist works with individuals one-on-one, a family therapist works with a family and helps them improve their dynamics and relationship as a unit. Family therapists who need postgraduate education and licensing may also work with couples to help them improve their relationships.

(Video) Introduction to Developmental Psychology: Piaget’s Stages

Social Worker

Median Salary: $50,390
Projected Job Growth (2021-2031): 9%

While not technically a field in developmental psychology, social work may require knowledge of the human mind and stages of development. Social workers, who typically need a master's in social work and license, help clients cope with difficult personal circumstances.


Childcare Center Director

Median Salary: $47,310
Projected Job Growth (2021-2031): 8%

A background in developmental psychology can be extremely useful for childcare center directors. These professionals work with children at stages where their thoughts and perceptions grow and change rapidly. Childcare center directors often need a bachelor's degree and experience working with young children.

Learn How to Become a Developmental Psychologist Before You Commit

Most developmental psychology positions require a degree, whether a bachelor's degree, a master's, or even a doctorate in psychology. Taking some introductory psychology courses in high school or college may be a good idea before committing to a psychology major. If you already have a psychology degree, research different postgraduate programs before applying for a master's in psychology or doctorate.

(Video) What is Developmental Psychology? #Alevel #Revision (Themes in Psychology Explained)

Once you have completed your education in developmental psychology or a related field, many jobs, such as therapists or social workers, require licensure. Licensing requirements vary between states but will often involve a number of supervised hours in the field and passing an exam. Be sure to renew your license according to your state's requirements. If you move states, you may need to obtain a licensure in that state or transfer it if you can.

How Long Does It Actually Take to Get Into Developmental Psychology?

It can take a lot of time to begin a developmental psychology career. Between a four-year bachelor's degree program and a one-or-two year master's, plus licensure, it can take 5-6 years to become a developmental psychologist.

Networking in college and after graduation can give you an idea of how to get into the field and how long it will take.

The Future of Developmental Psychology

Trend #1: Developmental Psychology Beyond Adolescence

While developmental psychology has historically focused on children and adolescents, it is increasingly applied to adults. This is especially relevant as the older population in the U.S. increases. People's mental health needs as they age will need to be addressed.

Trend #2: Cross-Cultural Developmental Psychology

With the world becoming more interconnected, developmental psychologists need to be aware of different clients' cultural experiences. This can be especially true for those working in educational settings, such as a psychologist on a college campus with a high number of international students.

Trend #3: Remote and Telehealth Psychology Services

The COVID-19 pandemic and better video conferencing technology helped make remote healthcare services and telehealth more popular, including psychology. Psychologists who offer telehealth therapy sessions with individuals or families can expand their client base and make it easier for more people to access therapy.

Trend #4: Post-Pandemic Developmental Psychology

The pandemic led to delays in childhood development, according to the CDC's report. This means that developmental psychologists will need to address a generation's challenges coming of age in the aftermath of the pandemic and beyond.

Is Developmental Psychology Right For Me?

Choosing to pursue a career in developmental psychology is a major life decision. If you are interested in a career in psychology and are especially interested in working with children, families, or in education, developmental psychology may be the right field for you.

(Video) Developmental Psychology - Human Development - CH1

Before you commit to a career, though, consider trying an internship or entry-level summer job. You can look for these jobs and internships at hospitals, childcare centers, nursing facilities, and more. You should also take a variety of psychology classes to ensure developmental psychology is the branch for you.

Frequently Asked Questions About Developmental Psychology

What are the highest paying jobs in developmental psychology?

How much you can make in a job in developmental psychology will vary a significant amount based on a variety of factors. These can include not only the type of job, but also your level of experience, location, and more.

In general, counselors and therapists who work one-on-one can be especially well-paid, with the average psychologist in the United States making $81,040 per year, according to BLS. However, your salary as a psychologist or any other developmental psychology career will likely depend on your location and may also change over the course of your career, with more experienced professionals being more likely to earn more.

What is the difference between developmental psychology and personality psychology?

Developmental psychology studies how human thought, behavior, and thought patterns change over time, from infancy to childhood and adolescence and beyond into adulthood and aging.

Personality psychology differs from developmental psychology in that personality psychology is the study of how our personality and views of ourselves form, but with no focus on growth, age, and life stages.

While there may be some overlap between developmental psychology and personality psychology, such as when studying how teenagers form self-esteem and a sense of self outside their families, the two fields are fundamentally different.

Is developmental psychology a good career?

Whether or not working in developmental psychology would be a good career fit for you is a personal question, and the answer will depend on various factors. Suppose you are interested in psychology generally and want to work with children and families, especially in a school or other educational setting. In that case, you may consider a career in developmental psychology.

What can I do with a psychology degree?

There are a wide variety of different jobs and industries you can work in with a bachelor's degree in psychology. Some jobs, such as a psychologist or social worker, will require you to go to graduate school for a master's, doctorate, or professional degree before you can begin working.

Other jobs, like market research or business, will likely not necessarily require any further education beyond a bachelor's degree. Although you will likely learn a lot on the job and as you advance in your career. Which psychology jobs are right for you will depend on your circumstances and interests.

(Video) Introduction to Developmental Psychology

FAQs

What is developmental psychology in simple terms? ›

Understanding Developmental Psychology

Developmental psychologists study how people grow, develop and adapt at different life stages. They conduct research designed to help people reach their full potential — for example, studying the difference between learning styles in babies and adults.

What is the main focus of developmental psychology? ›

Developmental psychology is a field of study that focuses on people's change and growth across their lifespan — how people develop physically, socially, mentally, and emotionally over time. Developmental psychology aims to answer questions about human development.

What is developmental psychology quizlet? ›

Developmental psychology. A branch of psychology that studies physical, cognitive, and social change throughout the life span. Critical period. An optimal period shortly after birth when an organism's exposure to certain stimuli or experiences produces proper development.

Which question is most important to developmental psychology? ›

The most important question in developmental psychology is: How does our genetic makeup and our experiences influence our development? This debate is also referred to as nature versus nurture.

Why is it important to study development? ›

The top reasons for studying human development are to gain an understanding of your own life experience, help others understand what they're going through, understand the relationship of society and individual growth, lead more effectively, and support the physical and mental health of others.

Why is it important to understand the developmental stages? ›

The most important reason for monitoring each child's development is to determine whether a child's development is on track. Looking for developmental milestones is important to understanding each child's development and behavior. Milestones can help explain a child's behavior.

What is an example of developmental psychology? ›

What is an example of developmental psychology? An example of developmental psychology would be the identification of a developmental delay in a child's ability to speak and speech pathology intervention.

What is the nature of developmental psychology? ›

psychological development, the development of human beings' cognitive, emotional, intellectual, and social capabilities and functioning over the course of a normal life span, from infancy through old age. It is the subject matter of the discipline known as developmental psychology.

What are the types of developmental psychology? ›

Developmental psychology involves a range of fields, such as educational psychology, child psychopathology, forensic developmental psychology, child development, cognitive psychology, ecological psychology, and cultural psychology.

What is the main focus of developmental psychology quizlet? ›

Developmental psychologists focus on human growth and changes across the lifespan, including physical, cognitive, social, intellectual, perceptual, personality and emotional growth.

Who is considered to be the father of developmental psychology? ›

Jean Piaget: Father of Developmental Psychology.

What is developmental domain in psychology? ›

The developmental domain of psychology includes topics on learning and conditioning as well as lifespan development. Developmental psychology is the scientific study of development across a lifespan. Developmental psychologists are interested in processes related to physical maturation.

Which three issues are the most important in developmental psychology? ›

There are three major debates in the field of developmental psychology: (1) nature vs. nurture, (2) continuity vs. stages, and (3) stability vs. change.

What do you mean by developmental theory? ›

1. any theory based on the continuity of human development and the importance of early experiences in shaping personality.

What three issues are of interest to developmental psychologists? ›

The three major issues that interest developmental psychologists are nature/nurture, stability/change, and what else? Although development is lifelong, there is stability of personality over time.

When did developmental psychology begin? ›

However, the emergence of developmental psychology as a specific discipline can be traced back to 1882 when Wilhelm Preyer (a German physiologist) published a book entitled The Mind of the Child .

What is the importance of developmental psychology to a teacher? ›

Developmental psychology can help you identify the many forces that affect growth, maturation, learning, and development and that affect your learners' behavior. It can also make you more understanding of the varieties of behavior you will find among learners.

What is the most important stage of development? ›

Recent brain research indicates that birth to age three are the most important years in a child's development. Here are some tips to consider during your child's early years: Be warm, loving, and responsive.

How can stage of development affect learning? ›

A child's stage of development can impact their learning because: Many areas of development support development in another area, so slower development of one area of development can lead to other areas being impacted.

How do psychologists study the development of children? ›

For children, such an evaluation typically involves interviews with parents and other caregivers to learn about behaviors they may have observed, a review of a child's medical history, and standardized testing to measure functioning in terms of communication, social/emotional skills, physical/motor development, and ...

How do you study developmental psychology? ›

Research methods to study developmental psychology

Controlled experiments, such as the Still Face Experiment or Piaget's conservation tasks. In-depth interviews. Self-reports or surveys, such as the Social Skills Questionnaire (SSQ) or the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) Correlational studies.

What is positive developmental psychology? ›

Positive Developmental Psychology and Evaluation provides you with knowledge and methods needed for research and to design, implement, and evaluate programs aimed at fostering positive human development throughout the lifespan.

What are the scope of developmental psychology? ›

Within the last three decades, researchers who study human development have expanded their focus to examine change across a broad range of topics including psycho-physiological processes; cognitive development involving areas such as problem solving, moral and conceptual understanding; language acquisition; social, ...

Why developmental psychology is important in social work? ›

Explanation: Development Psychology in social work practice to thoroughly understand human behavior. Attempts to bring changes, and watching how the audiences react on it. Development Psychology : refers to impact of changes people will have in their lives.

Where do developmental psychologists work? ›

Developmental psychologists work in a variety of settings, including academia, government agencies, health care facilities and schools. Those working in colleges and universities tend to focus primarily on research or teaching.

Who is the most famous developmental psychologist? ›

Jean Piaget, (born August 9, 1896, Neuchâtel, Switzerland—died September 16, 1980, Geneva), Swiss psychologist who was the first to make a systematic study of the acquisition of understanding in children. He is thought by many to have been the major figure in 20th-century developmental psychology.

What are the characteristics of developmental stages? ›

The characteristics of child development stages

Child development incorporates four main characteristics that can be assessed at each stage of a child's milestones. These characteristics are physical, intellectual, emotional and social.

What is life span developmental psychology? ›

Lifespan developmental psychology is the scientific study of growth and change throughout the human lifespan. It examines how thoughts, feelings and behaviors change during a person's life, and it encompasses biological, social, emotional and cognitive processes.

What is one of the major issues addressed by developmental psychologists? ›

Developmental psychologists study physical, cognitive, and social change throughout the life span with a focus on three major issues: Nature and nurture—how our genetic inheritance (our nature) interacts with our experiences (our nurture) to influence our development.

What are the three main issues studied by developmental psychologists quizlet? ›

1. State three areas of change that developmental psychologists study, and identify the three major issues in developmental psychology. Developmental psychologists study physical, cognitive, and social changes throughout the life span.

Which of the following is not a major issue in developmental psychology? ›

Developmental psychologists focus on all of the following issues EXCEPT: continuity and stages.

Who is the mother of psychology? ›

Margaret Floy Washburn (July 25, 1871 – October 29, 1939), leading American psychologist in the early 20th century, was best known for her experimental work in animal behavior and motor theory development.
...
Margaret Floy Washburn
Scientific career
Doctoral advisorEdward B. Titchener
6 more rows

Who started psychology? ›

Wilhelm Wundt was a German psychologist who established the very first psychology laboratory in Leipzig, Germany in 1879. This event is widely recognized as the formal establishment of psychology as a science distinct from biology and philosophy.

What is development in human behavior? ›

Human development, or developmental psychology, is a field of study that attempts to describe and explain the changes in human cognitive, emotional, and behavioral capabilities and functioning over the entire life span, from the fetus to old age.

What are the 4 types of development? ›

The Four types of Development
  • Social Development.
  • Emotional Development.
  • Intellectual/Cognitive. Development.
  • Physical Development.
  • Child Development activities.

What are the 5 developmental areas? ›

There are 5 key areas of development:
  • gross motor skills, for example crawling, jumping or running.
  • fine motor skills, such as writing and drawing.
  • speech and language.
  • cognitive and intellectual, such as counting or identifying shapes.
  • social and emotional skills, such as playing with other children.

What are the two important issues in development? ›

The two important issues in development are:-

Education increases the efficiency and productivity of manpower. It boosts human capital formation. Human capital formation means the population attaining knowledge and using it effectively for their development.

What are developmental issues? ›

Developmental concerns include delays or abnormal patterns of development in the areas of communication/language, motor skills, problem-solving or social and adaptive behavior. These concerns are usually based on comparison to other children the same age.

What are the three basic issues of child development? ›

When studying development, we often distinguish between three basic aspects or domains of development: physical, cognitive, and social-emotional.

What is the best theory of development? ›

Piaget's Cognitive Developmental Theory

Cognitive theory is concerned with the development of a person's thought processes. It also looks at how these thought processes influence how we understand and interact with the world. Theorist Jean Piaget proposed one of the most influential theories of cognitive development.

What are the main development theories? ›

Four main theories of development: modernization, dependency, world-systems, and globalization.

What are the three main theories of development? ›

The main objective of this document is to synthesize the main aspects of the four major theories of development: modernization, dependency, world- systems and globalization. These are the principal theoretical explanations to interpret development efforts carried out especially in the developing countries.

What are major issues involved in the process of development? ›

There are three theoretical issues in human development; nature versus nurture, continuity versus stages and stability versus change. The first issue is nature versus nurture.

What is an example of developmental psychology in psychology? ›

What is an example of developmental psychology? An example of developmental psychology would be the identification of a developmental delay in a child's ability to speak and speech pathology intervention.

What are the characteristics of developmental psychology? ›

Today's Successful Developmental Psychologist: 5 Key Traits in Practice
  • Compassion.
  • Communicator.
  • Open-Minded.
  • Optimism.
  • Follow-Through.

What are the 3 major issues in developmental psychology? ›

There are three major debates in the field of developmental psychology: (1) nature vs. nurture, (2) continuity vs. stages, and (3) stability vs. change.

What is the nature of developmental psychology? ›

psychological development, the development of human beings' cognitive, emotional, intellectual, and social capabilities and functioning over the course of a normal life span, from infancy through old age. It is the subject matter of the discipline known as developmental psychology.

How do you study developmental psychology? ›

Research methods to study developmental psychology

Controlled experiments, such as the Still Face Experiment or Piaget's conservation tasks. In-depth interviews. Self-reports or surveys, such as the Social Skills Questionnaire (SSQ) or the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) Correlational studies.

Who created developmental psychology? ›

Jean Piaget: Father of Developmental Psychology.

What is the application of developmental psychology? ›

The main application of developmental psychology is in the field of education and learning. Pourchot and Smith (2004) state that exploring not only children's development but also the developmental patterns in adults and elders makes this approach crucial to the creation of effective learning strategies for adults (p.

What is development very short answer? ›

Development is a process that creates growth, progress, positive change or the addition of physical, economic, environmental, social and demographic components.

Why is developmental psychology important to teachers? ›

Developmental psychology can help you identify the many forces that affect growth, maturation, learning, and development and that affect your learners' behavior. It can also make you more understanding of the varieties of behavior you will find among learners.

What is developmental theory? ›

1. any theory based on the continuity of human development and the importance of early experiences in shaping personality.

Who is the most famous developmental psychologist? ›

Jean Piaget, (born August 9, 1896, Neuchâtel, Switzerland—died September 16, 1980, Geneva), Swiss psychologist who was the first to make a systematic study of the acquisition of understanding in children. He is thought by many to have been the major figure in 20th-century developmental psychology.

What are the two important issues in development? ›

The two important issues in development are:-

Education increases the efficiency and productivity of manpower. It boosts human capital formation. Human capital formation means the population attaining knowledge and using it effectively for their development.

What are the 5 theories of development? ›

They are (1) maturationist, (2) constructivist, (3) behaviorist, (4) psychoanalytic, and (5) ecological. Each theory offers interpretations on the meaning of the children's development and behavior. Although the theories are clustered collectively into schools of thought, they differ within each school.

Why developmental psychology is important in social work? ›

Explanation: Development Psychology in social work practice to thoroughly understand human behavior. Attempts to bring changes, and watching how the audiences react on it. Development Psychology : refers to impact of changes people will have in their lives.

Where do developmental psychologists work? ›

Developmental psychologists work in a variety of settings, including academia, government agencies, health care facilities and schools. Those working in colleges and universities tend to focus primarily on research or teaching.

When was developmental psychology founded? ›

History of developmental psychology

Developmental psychology first appeared as an area of study in the late 19th century (Baltes, Lindenberger, & Staudinger, 2007). Developmental psychology focused initially on child and adolescent development, and was concerned about children's minds and learning (Hall, 1883).

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